Environmental Health

Dare to Clean Up the Air

Indoor air is filled with chemicals, smoke, dust, and biological contaminates, and their effects are heightened by high temperature and high humidity within buildings. Air-borne chemicals come from man-made pressed wood products, carpets, household cleaning products, personal care products, pesticides, lead, and gases. But, natural threats also float in the air from biological contaminants and radon gas.
True or False? Is indoor air quality usually worse than outdoor air quality? (Read on for the answer)

Indoor air pollutants can affect health through respiratory problems, headache, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, mental confusion, digestive problems, cardiovascular irregularities, skin disorders, muscle and joint pain, and even emotional problems like depression. Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is one of the primary causes of the controversial illness, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS). For differing opinions on MCS, visit the U.S. Department of Labor and the Chemical Injury Information Network.

Regardless of how you feel about MCS, the concentration of pollutants indoors is often two to five times greater than outdoors, and in some cases can be as high as 100 times greater according to Occupational Hazards. We also spend, on average, 90% of our time indoors, and school children spend more of their time indoors than adults. They also breathe a greater volume of air relative to their body weight than do adults. Therefore, children are at greater risk of accumulating higher concentrations of pollutants in their bodies from poor air quality.